Book report: The Elegance of the Hedgehog

I honestly can't remember why I picked up The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I buy a lot of books, but I usually avoid translations (because they lead me to constantly wonder about what's lost, whether I'm reading the what the author intended to say, or what the translator thinks ought to be conveyed). But that's a larger discussion.

So, at the start this book was rather annoying. The two protagonists are both madly intelligent and imperious in their judgment of others. Their inner monologue reminded me of those people in my undergrad philosophy classes who would go out of their way to name-drop Foucault or Lacan.

But, at the same time, I was propelled forward by hope for the characters. I hoped they were being set up for something real to come along and debunk their little meditations and to show them that introspection only goes so far. And it does. Quite beautifully.

If you can be patient and indulgent for the first 100 pages and find something sympathetic to hold on to in these characters, you will fall in love with them by the end of the book, disarmed by their sensitivity and openness. This is a lovely tale. And a bit of a parable for people - yes, I admit, I'm one - who tend to live too much inside their own heads.
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